/Russia-Ukraine War News: Russian Missile Strike Kills Dozens at Kramatorsk Train Station – The Wall Street Journal

Russia-Ukraine War News: Russian Missile Strike Kills Dozens at Kramatorsk Train Station – The Wall Street Journal


Here are five new elements that emerged from the latest round of EU sanctions against Russia:

Targeting Oligarchs

The Wall Street Journal had already reported that President Vladimir Putin’s two daughters and businessman Oleg Deripaska would be hit with an asset freeze and travel ban, but there were other prominent names among the 217 individuals and 18 entities targeted.

They included Boris Rotenberg, a close childhood friend of Mr. Putin. The 65-year-old tycoon is the co-owner of the SGM group, the largest construction company for gas pipelines in Russia, which built a bridge connecting annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland that opened in 2018.

Also on the sanctions list was Herman Gref, an adviser to Mr. Putin since the two worked together in the St. Petersburg city government in the 1990s. Mr. Gref is head of Russia’s largest financial entity, Sberbank. He also served as Russia’s economic development and trade minister in the 2000s.

Neither Mr. Rotenberg nor Mr. Gref responded to a request for comment.

Financial Squeeze

The new package includes a ban on transactions with four banks that were already cut off from the Swift financial transactions mechanism, including VTB, Russia’s second biggest bank. Also listed were Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank and Novikombank.

The EU also introduced a prohibition on providing advice on trusts to wealthy Russians and further clamped down on the use of cryptocurrencies to prohibit investments valued at more than €10,000 by Russians (equivalent to $10,900).

Off the Road

Friday’s sanctions also include a ban on Russian and Belarusian freight road operators working in the EU and an entry ban on Russian-flagged vessels to EU ports.

EU member states have been discussing the transport sanctions for weeks, and officials were frank that they will prove challenging to implement. Picking out road freight that will be permitted under specific exemptions or is coming through Russia from farther afield will require policing. Officials also acknowledge that many Russian companies use non-Russian flagged vessels to transport cargoes.

Around 75% of EU exports used to travel to Russia by road and about 7.5% of EU imports came by road from Russia, EU officials said. The EU is also sanctioning Russia’s largest transport leasing company.

High Tech Ban

The EU announced targeted export bans worth €10 billion that include prohibitions on exporting some quantum computing technology, advanced semiconductors and specialist catalysts for use in the refinery industry.

The bloc is also adding jet fuels and fuel additives to its export ban, materials that could be used by the Russian army.

Cultural Protection

EU officials are also using the new sanctions package to tweak a few unintended side-effects of previous measures.

After imposing a ban on the export of luxury goods last month, there were concerns from EU museums about whether they were still allowed to return masterpieces on loan from Russian museums, EU officials said. Brussels is keen to stress the bloc had no intention of using sanctions to deprive Russia’s cultural institutions of their works of art.

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